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Day Three, 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival
Another Day That Just Knocks Your Socks Off

2007 VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

As the weather office had been promising all week, on Saturday the rains finally came, the sort of chill, damp mid-November autumn day that arrives much too early this year.

Given that Sunday will mean an early morning for the 10 a.m. screening of the Cannes Palme d'Or winner, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, VanRamblings took the early morning hours on Saturday to spend an extra few minutes in bed, planning the day's film activities. Bundled up in the appropriate rain gear, VanRamblings headed downtown shortly after 2 p.m. to line up for tickets for the 3:30 screening of the Sundance Jury documentary winner ...

Manda Bala (Grade: B+): Director Jason Kohn's vivid portrait of corruption, crime, fear and anomie in modern-day Brazil, where the very act of getting up in the morning is fraught with the prospect of one's imminent death, Manda Bala is gruesome at times (VanRamblings turned our eyes away during the ear reconstruction scenes), yet ultimately hopeful in tone and possessed of an insight into a Brazil that few of us in the northern hemisphere are even remotely aware of. Another must-see at the 2007 VIFF, Manda Bala screens again next Friday, October 5th at 4:15 p.m.

Although VanRamblings would have preferred to stay to listen to the post-screening questions the audience would place to Jason Kohn, who was in attendance at the screening, that darn pass line-up line outside the Granville 7 beckoned — either passholders get in line by 5 p.m. to pick up their evening tickets, or chances are they won't see the films on their schedule. VanRamblings waited on damp, dreary rain-slicked Granville Street til 5:30 p.m., when we picked up our evening passes for ...

You, The Living (Grade: C-): Although director Roy Andersson picked up the Jury Prize at Cannes, in 2002, for Songs From The Second Floor, his latest — Sweden's entry in the 2007 Oscar derby — is utterly pointless film fare. Surprisingly, Jason Anderson in Eye Weekly gave You, The Living five stars when it played at the Toronto Film Festival, calling it "austere, ingenious, hilarious, romantic, hopeful and dyspeptic". One is left only to wonder what drugs Mr. Anderson took the day he screened You, The Living, because for VanRamblings this film was an unwatchable, pretentious, uninvolving waste of 92 minutes (witness the numerous walk-outs).

The find of the day, though, the real Saturday stand-out was ...

Beaufort (Grade: A-): Sparse but powerful, Beaufort recounts Israel's evacuation of the Southern Lebanese mountaintop fortress of the title, in 2000. Telling the personal stories of a group of young soldiers held hostage in a vast labyrinth of concrete tunnels and bunkers while attempting to defend Israel's interests, stationed within an inhospitable Lebanon and under constant attack by the deadly forces of the Hezbollah, director Joseph Cedar's bleak, emotional film may not break any new ground when it comes to filming the drama of war, but that doesn't make Beaufort any less compelling. Another must-see at the 2007 Vancouver Film Festival.



Posted by Raymond Tomlin at September 29, 2007 11:59 PM in VIFF 2007

   

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